March 2023

In this month’s edition:

  • Down on the Farm – Tony Palmer
  • Flying Book Review: ‘Find Your Wings and Fly‘ – Richard Griffiths
  • Choosing an Engine
  • CAA Publish Cut-down Radio Manual
  • Events – Some details for the year ahead

Down on the farm 50 last month 2/23

Klemm L25C G-ACXE

We have had a dry spell and last week we dragged the plane out and checked the fuel system. The fuel strainer had rubbish in it and the fuel was old so we put in 10 litres of new zero ethanol fuel and drained the fuel lines from the header tank. The carb jets were all removed and checked for blockages and found to be all good. We had fitted a priming fuel pump but last time we tried it it still did not start. This time we used the priming pump at the same time as we sucked in with the prop. And low and behold the motor started first pull!!

Still no oil pressure after a minute and a half so shut it down. We tried some other checks and started it again but still no oil pressure on the gauge. Remove oil pump and we found the o-ring that seals the pressure feed from pump to engine had been misplaced and had been flattened.

We took the pump into the workshop made up a plate which bolted to the top face of the pump and tapped it 1/8”npt to take a screwed fitting so the we could couple up a pressure gauge. Jim had data in his notes with regard to drive ratios of pump to engine RPM so we calculated that the hand electric drill would have about the correct RPM and power to turn the pump.

We ran the pump on the bench and noted that it would only reach about 45 to 50 psi. We then removed the standard relief valve spring and fitted an uprated one ( we had stretched a standard spring previously) and saw the pressure rise to 60 to 65psi which proved that the pressure was limited by the relief valve not the drill performance. Jim Cresswell (who runs a mk2 Swallow with a Pobjoy and has just brought a second one) is intending bringing up a working pump next week.

Tony Palmer

Flying Book Review: ‘Find Your Wings and Fly: Life lessons from the cockpit’ by Nushin Elahi

This book turned out to be a surprise and a half! I bought it as I follow Nushin Elahi on Facebook for her aerial photographs and chirpy descriptions of flying. I expected an easy read about the pleasure of taking to the air. Perhaps I should have taken more notice of the subtitle.

Nushin is South African, married with two kids. She spent the first half of her life working in the media and arts world, much of it managing her mother, Alice Elahi’s career as a landscape artist. After her mother retired to a nursing home, she and her husband came to the UK, where she had something of a mid-life crisis. Who was she now? What sort of life could be open to her? Her husband was learning to fly, and despite initial apprehension, she found her self being pulled into going for a microlight licence herself.

Perhaps not an unusual point in life to take up flying for men or women. You are typically established and can find the money. Family responsibilities may be slackening off and your career is not the challenge it was. Time for another challenge. Well, that was my story. Perhaps for Nushin it was more intense with the major life changes she was going through. And this may have given a particular edge to her experience of flying training, that translated into a significant career change.

Whilst flying training itself had significant challenges for her, being a woman in the very male environment of a microlight club somewhere in Essex, presented issues of its own. This in addition to the way the club was run, and with an odd assortment of characters, not all of whom you would choose to spend time with, nearly had her abandoning the project several times. CFI’s and instructors would gain useful insight from reading this book. I suspect that those who would gain most probably won’t though. Whilst not being challenged by the sexism, I recognise the set-up in schools and clubs I’ve been associated with, though never quite as difficult as this one appears. Learning the theory and practice of flying can be challenging enough without also negotiating the rummy social niceties. She takes no prisoners in her pen-portraits of the flying club denizens.

Nushin is equally frank about her own difficulties, both in mastering the necessary skills, and managing her emotions. This had bells ringing for me. When learning I can remember times when I prayed for the weather to be bad enough to call off the lesson, the feeling of ‘why am I putting myself through this?’ But then, the beautiful moments when it started to come together and the feeling, in Saint-Exupéry’s words that I was someone who had “business with the wind and stars”.

Making full use of the personal insights that she got on her flying journey and the changes they made in her life, Nushin now works as a personal coach, helping other people through challenges their life presents. I am sure from the unsparing insight this book give into her own growth, she will be good at it.

I hope that I have done some justice to this book. It’s not your usual flying training book, but for the right person, may help them stick the course.

Reframe Press, 2022, ISBN 978-1-739245-0-2

Richard Griffiths

CAA Publish Cut-down Radio Manual

In the Safety Sense series, a simplified radio telephony procedure manual has just been issued. It abstracts the bits from CAP413 that are applicable to GA flight. At 30 pages long, it can be read in about half an hour. An excellent refresher; I was certainly reminded of a couple of points. It can be downloaded as a .pdf here: Safety Sense 22 Radio Telephony

Choosing an Engine

The flying group I’m a member of based around a 1968 Cessna 172, the Five Percent Flying Group, is having to confront the unpleasant fact that our Continental O-300-D engine is coming to the end of its life. We have been exploring options: different Lycomings and even a Thelert diesel, but most likely to go for a reconditioned Continental.

By chance, my son sent me a link to an AirFacts article on this very topic: The $20 an hour Cessna 172 Experiment. There the author, taking advantage of the FAA Experimental category in the States, was able to come up with a radically different solution; an adapted V8 car engine! He makes an extremely good case for this approach to keeping legacy GA aircraft flying and has started a company to do this in the States: Corsair Aircraft Engine Company. Not currently a UK regulatory option for my group, or any of the many ageing certified GA types on the CAA register. Perhaps it should be!

Richard Griffiths


Meetings and events over the coming year

The Border force is giving a talk at the Strut meeting on 1st March at the Longshore just South of the airport. This was the talk that was postponed from last November (we moved from the Swiss cottage and went to the Longshore but their TV was out of order) and postponed from the 1st February due a strike. Please make an effort to attend. For those that have not paid your subs please bring £20 cash and find me.

Some thoughts:

We need ideas for strut talkers to cover June, Aug, Sept and October.

We have 2 strut trophies which I have on the window ledge waiting for a suitable candidate; please nominate a club member for something outstanding.

  • March strut night:
    • Border force talk
  • April strut night:
    • Film show
    • Goodwood members meeting 15/16th
    • Friedrichshafen 19/22nd
  • May strut night:
    • Quiz
    • Private flyer festival Booker 19/20th (don’t miss it)
  • June strut night:
    • TBA
    • Aeroexpro UK Sywell 8/10th (should be good)
    • Fly-in at Chilsfold farm
  • July strut night:
    • Gliding evening
    • Goodwood FOS 13/16th
    • Firle Hill climb 30/31st
  • August strut night:
    • TBA
    • Fly-in at Palmers Farm 4.8.23
  • September strut night:
    • TBA
    • Goodwood Revival 8/10th
  • October strut night:
    • TBA
  • November strut night:
    • Film show
  • December strut night:
    • Xmas dinner

Tony Palmer

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.